Memorial Day events fill the weekend as flags return and Silver Shield cleans memorial

Members of the Cos Cob Volunteer Fire Company, including, from left, Billy Ingraham, Steve Francefort, Chris Battle and Chief John Pugni helped Selectman David Theis, at far right, return American flags to both sides of the Mianus River Bridge last year. The flags will return Friday night for 2014 — Ken Borsuk photo

Members of the Cos Cob Volunteer Fire Company, including, from left, Billy Ingraham, Steve Francefort, Chris Battle and Chief John Pugni helped Selectman David Theis, at far right, return American flags to both sides of the Mianus River Bridge last year. The flags will return Friday night for 2014
— Ken Borsuk photo

Greenwich residents and visitors will have plenty of opportunities to pay tribute to the fallen this week as the town has several Memorial Day events planned.

While the centerpiece of the long weekend will be the Greenwich Town Party which will go on throughout the day on Saturday, May 24, from both Roger Sherman Baldwin Park and Havemeyer Field, the true meaning of the day has not been lost on the town. Parades will be held on both Sunday and Monday and veterans will speak out about service and patriotism as the town pauses to remember the men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice to defend America.

The weekend of observance will unofficially kick off Friday night, May 23, when the annual display of flags over the Mianus River Bridge in Cos Cob will return. Starting at 6 p.m. on Friday in the Greenwich Adult Day Care parking lot, which is right by the bridge, John Pugni district chief of the Cos Cob Volunteer Fire Company will be leading the volunteer effort to put the flags up on both sides of the bridge, where they will stay up until the fall.

This is the fourth year the flags will be displayed and it has become a beloved local tradition. Selectman David Theis, a driving force behind the project, called it a “feel good initiative.”

“It’s a really welcome site and it’s great to be working on this and get the support of residents who drive by and honk their horns in approval for you and you see them pump their fists,” Mr. Theis said. “It’s very heartwarming. Hopefully this will be a tradition that will live on thanks to the Cos Cob Volunteer Fire Company.”

This is just the beginning of the weekend of observance though as two parades will be held on Sunday. At 2 p.m. the Byram Veterans Association will sponsor a parade through Byram and that will be followed by the 5 p.m. parade in Glenville hosted by the Glenville Volunteer Fire Company. Capt. Mark Turner, a Greenwich native, is scheduled to speak at the veteran’s monument at the fire station after the parade which will go from Walker Court, continues left onto Glenville Street, right onto Glenville Road and then right onto Pemberwick Road.

On Monday morning there will be two remembrance ceremonies at 8 a.m. There will be one in Byram at the veterans memorial outside the old Byram School and there will also be one at the Indian Harbor Yacht Club organized by the American Legion Post 29. State Sen. L. Scott Frantz (R-36) will be the guest speaker there.

Those events will be followed by the annual parade through Old Greenwich, which begins at 10 a.m. and will march up Sound Beach Avenue and end with everyone gathered in Binney Park. Lt. Charles Baker, an Old Greenwich native and an active duty member of the Navy, will then speak after the parade.

“There will be plenty of opportunities to pay your respects to the men and women of our armed services,” First Selectman Peter Tesei said.

Additionally at noon on Monday there will be a special ceremony at Hamilton Avenue School at the newly established memorial there for veterans from the area. And the town’s famous war memorial on Greenwich Avenue at what was once the Post Office but is now a Restoration Hardware is also looking better than ever thanks to retired Greenwich Police Lt. Thomas Keegan and the Greenwich Silver Shield Association which organized the cleaning of the stone with special chemicals to clean it off.

According to the Silver Shield, which serves as the town’s police union, time and weather have taken their toll on these important memorials and Lt. Keegan called it, “An honor and a privilege to be able to restore these monuments to their original condition.”

Jim Jagodzinski of Fairfield County Safe Wash donated his services for this project. Mr. Jagodzinski is a lifelong resident of Greenwich and said he was proud that he was asked to contribute. The Greenwich Police Honor Guard stood watch while the power washing was being conducted and capped it off by placing a new American flag at the memorial.

Sgt. Brent Reeves, president of The Silver Shield Association said in a press release, “It is important that we continue to honor those who gave their lives defending our freedoms. We are happy and humbled that we could do this for those who gave so much.”

At this week’s Board of Selectmen meeting, Mr. Theis gave the Silver Shield a special shout out for their efforts and thanked them for making the monument look better than ever and urged everyone to check it out.

“It’s amazing what a little elbow grease will do,” Mr. Tesei said.

 

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